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Detroit Tigers Top Toronto in Extra Inning Thriller

June 4, 1984 Tigers 6, Blue Jays 3 (39-11)

A couple of big blasts by some unlikely players gave the Tigers round one of the season series with the Blue Jays. Starter Juan Berenguer pitched a decent but not great game, giving up three runs through 6 2/3. Willie Hernandez was the pitching star though. Even though he was brought in with a three run deficit, unheard of for a closer in this day, he got the Tigers out of a jam in the critical seventh inning. He ended up pitching three innings of shutout ball to help the Tigers earn the win.

The reason the seventh inning was critical was, in the bottom half, the Tigers came back. Third basemen Howard Johnson tied the game up with one swing of the bat by hitting a three run homer. The game would be tied at the end of nine, and in the bottom of the tenth, the Tigers struck again.

In Sparky Anderson’s book “Bless You Boys,” Sparky Anderson called it the greatest at bat in his life. Dave Bergman, the Tigers role player/backup firstbasemen came to bat with runners on first and second base and two outs. He worked to a full count against Roy Lee Howell, then according to Sparky, fouled off seven straight pitches. Then on the 13th pitch, Bergman hit what I remember as his most memorable homer of his career into the upper deck in right field.

Great relief pitching and timely hitting. The Tigers widened their lead to 5 1/2 games over the Jays, but they’d still have three more games left just in this series.

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